Augusta GA Alimony Lawyer
Alimony is the right to spousal support during the pendency of a divorce or as part of the terms of a divorce decree. Either spouse (male or female) can be ordered to pay alimony to the other. The court may grant alimony to one spouse from either the income or the estate of the other spouse. Alimony can be awarded in the form of periodic payments or a lump sum. If periodic payments are awarded, the payments are usually terminated upon the death of the payer spouse or the remarriage of the payee spouse, or upon some other condition specified in the award judgment. A lump sum award is not modifiable. The lump sum award is final and survives the death of either of the parties.
The purpose of alimony is to provide an adequate income stream for the spouse who had become economically dependent on the other spouse. The modern trend is for courts to award less alimony then they did in the past because today women are more likely to work outside the home and therefore tend to be less economically dependent on their spouse.
The court has considerable discretion in determining whether to award alimony. If alimony is awarded, the court has considerable discretion in determining the amount of alimony. The court will consider many factors in determining the amount of alimony, including:
(1) The standard of living established during the marriage;
(2) The duration of the marriage;
(3) The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties;
(4) The financial resources of each party;
(5) Where applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable him to find appropriate employment;
(6) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party;
(7) The condition of the parties, including the separate estate, earning capacity, and fixed liabilities of the parties; and
(8) Such other relevant factors as the court deems equitable and proper.
See O.C.G.A. § 19-6-5.
Marital fault is generally not a factor in deciding whether alimony should be awarded. The reason the courts do not generally consider marital fault in determining alimony is because the purpose of alimony is not to punish or reward the spouse requesting alimony. However, in Georgia, if the spouse requesting alimony committed adultery or deserted the other spouse and the adultery or desertion was the cause of the divorce, then their claim for alimony is defeated. Mitigating factors such as ability to earn, high marital debts to be paid, etc., may serve to make alimony unrealistic.
In Georgia, either party may choose to have a jury trial to determine the issue of whether and how much alimony should be awarded. An alimony award can be modified at a later date if the facts warrant it or if the parties agree to a modification.
There are many facets to a divorce settlement in Georgia, whether it is reached privately by mutual agreement between the parties in question or through the applicable courts. A good Georgia divorce lawyer can guide you through the the process, and indeed, there is a lot to consider. There are matters of division of property, and along with that goes the dividing of mutually incurred debt as well. If children are involved, another layer of complexity surrounds the proceedings. Things like custody, visitation rights, and child support will need to be hashed out. And beyond these issues, in many cases, the couple will have to consider the question of alimony.
Alimony in the state of Georgia is not as widely applied as it is in many states. From a legal perspective, a husband is responsible for the financial support of his wife, and the wife is mutually responsible to support her husband while they are married. Once they are divorced, this is no longer the case. However, alimony, which is a payment by one of the estranged partners to the other, is sometimes agreed upon or decreed by the courts. Alimony payments can be either permanent, or rehabilitative. These terms are rather self explanatory; a permanent alimony arrangement is just that, a permanent payment; rehabilitative alimony is temporary and intended to help the party get on sound financial footing, often times paid while the individual is getting training to re-enter the workplace.
There are a number of factors that are considered when the courts look at an alimony case. The means of each of the parties involved will be examined, and the length of the marriage will be taken into account. Time spent by one former partner caring for children and maintaining the home while allowing for the career advancement of the other will be considered. The court will also take into account the age and health of the interested parties, as well as their realistic potential earning power and previous standard of living.
Georgia divorce lawyers have a great deal of experience handling alimony cases, and they can assist you in coming up with an agreed upon plan, or advocate your interests during court proceedings. These matters are complex, and few laypeople are truly prepared to represent themselves in matters of such significant importance that have serious lifelong implications.